IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 705: Gender in Late Medieval Narrative, I

Tuesday 10 July 2007, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Lara Farina, Department of English, West Virginia University
Paper 705-aHelen of Troy: Medieval Romance Heroine or Misogynist's Scapegoat?
(Language: English)
Katherine Heavey, University of Glasgow
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - Latin, Sexuality
Paper 705-bLa demoiselle errante, ou la structure et l'interprétation des aventures féminines
(Language: Français)
An Faems, Departement Literatuurwetenschap, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Dutch
Paper 705-cThe Abbreviated Amazon: The Presentation of Queen Penthesilee in an Abridged Version of the Roman de Troie
(Language: English)
Siân Lewin Prosser, Department of French, University of Sheffield
Index terms: Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Manuscripts and Palaeography
Abstract

Paper a: My paper addresses the representation of Helen of Troy in the medieval Troy narratives of Benoit de Saint-Maure and Guido delle Colonne, as well as Lydgate’s Troy Book, the Geste Historiale of the Destruction of Troy and the Laud Troy Book. Specifically, the medieval taste for romance as a genre can be clearly discerned in descriptions of Helen’s appearance and of her first meeting with Paris. However, conflicting with the romance motif is a vein of misogyny, classical in origin but demonstrating medieval anxiety over growing female independence. I aim to outline some of the peculiarly medieval concerns about marriage, honour and the place of women (in literature and in the medieval world) that Helen’s role illustrates.
Paper b: Les aventures des chevaliers errants peuvent souvent être caractérisées comme des concrétisations d’un modèle abstrait récurrent: la combinaison de ‘provocation’, ‘détermination de l’hiérarchie’ et ‘information’. Quoique ce modèle puisse faciliter l’interprétation, il est axé sur les aventures physiques et masculines. Le modèle semble donc moins approprié aux aventures psychologiques ou spirituelles et à d’autres types de personnages. Est-il cependant possible (et désirable) de concevoir un modèle alternatif qui dépasse ces limites? L’analyse des aventures du personnage Margriete, dans le premier livre du Roman van Heinric en Margriete van Limborch (début du 14ième siècle), fournira des réponses (partielles) à cette question.
Paper c: Ms. British Library Addit. 30863 is a thirteenth-century manuscript which presents an extensively abridged version of Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Roman de Troie (c. 1165). The abridgments seem to result, in part, from a deliberate editing policy born out of unease with Benoît’s original portrayal of key heroic figures. The anonymous redactor seems to have found the Amazon queen Penthesilee particularly problematic, as many of the achievements of this preeminent warrior have been omitted. The bowdlerisation of certain aspects of this character may throw light on changing perceptions of the Amazon archetype in the decades following the composition of the poem.